Where is Zlatan Ibrahimovic likely to end up in January?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not be short of suitors when he becomes a free agent in the new year despite one of football’s biggest personalities being two years shy of 40.

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The 38-year-old Swede has already been linked with a host of teams in England, Italy and Spain after announcing his departure from LA Galaxy. 

Ibrahimovic could even rock back up at one of his former sides with Manchester United and AC Milan among the clubs said to be interested.

Here, Sportsmail rates Ibrahimovic’s options as he weighs up his next move after his two-year stint in America…

MANCHESTER UNITED

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be looking to strengthen his attacking options during the January transfer window as Manchester United are yet to replace Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez. 

Ibrahimovic knows all about United having played for the Old Trafford outfit for two seasons between 2016 and 2018. 

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The Swede scored 28 goals in 46 games during his first season at the club before a serious knee injury curtailed his time in England. 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been linked with a return to Manchester United in the January window

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been linked with a return to Manchester United in the January window

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial could learn from Ibrahimovic if he returned to the club

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial could learn from Ibrahimovic if he returned to the club

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial could learn from Ibrahimovic if he returned to the club

He did eventually re-sign but only managed to play seven games – scoring one goal in the process. 

Manchester United fans would welcome Ibrahimovic back with open arms and he could act as a forward coach for the likes of Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. 

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Ibrahimovic said back in August: ‘I could play easy in the Premier League, so if United needs me, I’m here.’

Ibrahimovic’s comments may have been in jest but he may feel has has more to prove in England. 

However, It seems Solskjaer has other ideas as he previously ruled out a move for Ibrahimovic and seems to be set on bringing the experienced Mario Mandzukic to the club. 

LIKELIHOOD RATING: 1/5

REAL VALLADOLID

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Ibrahimovic set pulses raising among La Liga fans when he announced he was returning to Spain but reports have since suggested that it was nothing more than a PR stunt. 

The Swede did not enjoy his previous spell in Spain due to his poor relationship with a certain Pep Guardiola.

Ibrahimovic does have a La Liga title to his name but he was shipped out on loan during his second season at the Nou Camp. 

Ibrahimovic (left) is a big admirer of Real Valladolid majority shareholder Ronaldo (right)

Ibrahimovic (left) is a big admirer of Real Valladolid majority shareholder Ronaldo (right)

Ibrahimovic (left) is a big admirer of Real Valladolid majority shareholder Ronaldo (right)

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Real Valladolid are said to be the frontrunners if he did decide to join a La Liga side due to his relationship with Ronaldo. 

Brazilian Ronaldo is the majority owner of Real Valladolid with the former Real Madrid striker owning 51 per cent of the club. 

Ronaldo visited Ibrahimovic in Los Angeles in April 2018 and the duo have a mutual respect for one another. 

However, Ibrahimovic is unlikely to want to end his career playing for a mid-table Spanish side even though he would love to team up with a player he admires so much in Ronaldo. 

LIKELIHOOD RATING: 2/5 

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NAPOLI 

Ibrahimovic’s friendship with Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis has opened the door for the Swede to seal a move to Naples. 

Napoli would become the fourth side Ibrahimovic has represented with the Swede previously playing for AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus. 

Unlike Real Valladolid, Ibrahimovic would be playing for one of Europe’s top clubs despite the fact they are currently sitting in seventh spot. 

Ibrahimovic previously enjoyed success at PSG under current Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti

Ibrahimovic previously enjoyed success at PSG under current Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti

Ibrahimovic previously enjoyed success at PSG under current Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC’S CV 

Malmo 1999-2001 (47 games, 18 goals)

Ajax 2001-2004 (110, 48)

Juventus 2004-2006 (92, 26)

Inter Milan 2006-2009 (117, 66)

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Barcelona 2009-2011 (46, 22)

AC Milan 2010-2012 (85, 56)

PSG 2012-2016 (180, 156)

Man United 2016-2018 (53, 29)

LA Galaxy 2018-2019 (58 games, 53)

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Ibrahimovic previously worked with Carlo Ancelotti at Paris Saint-Germain and he would have no qualms in reigniting that working relationship. 

Ancelotti joked in October that he would be calling Ibrahimovic after he said he would be keen on returning to Italy. 

‘I’ll call him tonight and say we’re waiting!,’ Ancelotti joked.

‘I have a great deal of affection for him, I saw he scored 29 goals in 30 MLS games. Tomorrow, after I’ve called him, I’ll let you know how it went!’]

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With all the current tension at Napoli with the owner clashing with players, Ibrahimovic could be the perfect person to glue the club back together. 

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It would also give him the chance to add an elusive Champions League winner’s medal to his stunning trophy cabinet.  

LIKELIHOOD RATING: 3/5 

BOLOGNA 

Bologna are said to be winning the race to sign Ibrahimovic because of his close bond with coach Sinisa Mihajlovic.

Ibrahimovic played under Mihajlovic, who was then an assistant manager, at Inter Milan and the Serbian has been credited with improving the Swede’s free-kicks.

It would be somewhat of a surprise to see Ibrahimovic in a Bologna shirt as they are 15th in Serie A – just three points away from the relegation zone. 

Ibrahimovic's strong relationship with Sinisa Mihajlovic could see the Swede move to Bologna

Ibrahimovic's strong relationship with Sinisa Mihajlovic could see the Swede move to Bologna

Ibrahimovic’s strong relationship with Sinisa Mihajlovic could see the Swede move to Bologna

Ibrahimovic will not want a relegation on his illustrious CV but he may value his friendship with Mihajlovic so much that he wants to help him out. 

Italy seems to be his preferred option but Bologna will face stiff competition from the aforementioned Napoli as well as AC Milan. 

Ibrahimovic said in October: ‘I know I could still make the difference, both in Italy and in other countries.

‘I’d do better than the players who are there playing now.’

Bologna are likely to lose out on the race to land Ibrahimovic on a free transfer but their fans will just be delighted their name is in the hat. 

LIKELIHOOD RATING: 3/5 

AC MILAN 

Ibrahimovic is said to have demanded in the region of £215,000 a week to return to Italy which may rule Bologna out of the running.

AC Milan are not afraid to throw big money at signings so they are more likely to be able to give Ibrahimovic what he wants financially. 

Stefano Pioli was not the most popular appointment at the club when he replaced Marco Giampaolo in October so bringing in Ibrahimovic could lift the mood at the San Siro. 

Ibrahimovic, pictured scoring against Inter, won the Serie A title in 2011 at AC Milan

Ibrahimovic, pictured scoring against Inter, won the Serie A title in 2011 at AC Milan

Ibrahimovic, pictured scoring against Inter, won the Serie A title in 2011 at AC Milan

His wife Helena Seger, pictured watching a Lakers game, is said to be keen on a return to Milan

His wife Helena Seger, pictured watching a Lakers game, is said to be keen on a return to Milan

His wife Helena Seger, pictured watching a Lakers game, is said to be keen on a return to Milan

Milan are just one position above Bologna but they have a far stronger squad with the likes of Gianluigi Donnarumma, Hakan Calhanoglu and Krzysztof Piatek all at the club. 

Ibrahimovic won a Serie A title at AC Milan and they were the last Italian club he played for following spells at Juventus and Inter. 

He netted 56 goals in 85 games across two seasons at AC before deciding to try his luck in France with PSG. 

His wife Helena Seger is said to be keen on returning to Milan so we may find out who wears the trousers in their relationship come January. 

Ibrahimovic has the persona to be the man to wake up Italy’s sleeping giant. 

LIKELIHOOD RATING: 4/5 

TOTTENHAM

Tottenham could be an unlikely option for Ibrahimovic now that Mourinho has sealed a move back to the Premier League. 

The duo share a brilliant relationship following their time together at the San Siro and Old Trafford and Mourinho will be keen to add another striker to play second fiddle to Harry Kane.  

Ibrahimovic’s wage demands may prove to be a major stumbling block if Mourinho was keen to entice him back to England as Daniel Levy is unlikely to break the club’s strict wage structure. 

Jose Mourinho may look to seal another reunion with the enigmatic Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Jose Mourinho may look to seal another reunion with the enigmatic Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Jose Mourinho may look to seal another reunion with the enigmatic Zlatan Ibrahimovic

The Swede told Gazetta dello Sport in October: ‘He had an incredible impact on my career.

‘He is still “the Special One”, a winner. I hope he will back on a bench soon and I am sure he will start winning immediately.’

Ibrahimovic may have to watch the Portuguese try to recapture his magic from afar as a reunion appears to be more than unlikely.

LIKELIHOOD RATING: 1/5 

 

 

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